Monday, August 25, 2014

America cannot wait while the world warms

A climate for change

By Editorial Board August 25 at 7:00 PM, WashPost

FOR MORE than a century, scientists have understood the basic physics of the greenhouse effect. For decades, they’ve realized humans can affect the climate by burning coal, oil and gas. But the country’s leaders remain divided on the need to curb greenhouse emissions, let alone how to do it.

Among mainstream scientists, this paralysis is mind-boggling.

There is now no doubt that the world is warming. In 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration deemed this conclusion “unequivocal,” pointing to multiple, independent lines of evidence, including decades of direct temperature readings. In 2011, Richard Muller, a University of California at Berkeley scientist and former climate-change skeptic, verified this conclusion after a two-year review of the data. The complaint that scientists did not predict a slowdown in warming lately does not contradict this finding: Climate change is a long-term phenomenon; the line will go up and down here and there, but the general direction will be up. As the most authoritative source on climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, explained in its Fifth Assessment Report last year, “Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850.”

(More here.)

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